Books by Alice Adams

INVINCIBLE SUMMER by Alice Adams
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 7, 2016

"Breezy with substance; an absorbing summer read."
Adams' sensitive debut follows a tightknit quartet of college friends as they navigate their shifting relationships—and evolving identities—over the course of two decades. Read full book review >
THE STORIES OF ALICE ADAMS by Alice Adams
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 12, 2002

"Very uneven, then, but never less than readable and engaging. Adams's many admirers will welcome this generous display of her work."
The unbridgeable distances between even perfectly compatible people, and the difficulty of sustaining meaningful relationships are the dominant themes of this retrospective collection of 53 stories by the late (1926-99) author (After the War, 2000, etc.). Read full book review >
AFTER THE WAR by Alice Adams
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 26, 2000

"Tender, funny, and touching: a fitting close to an admirable career."
In her elegiac final novel, the late Adams picks up the story of Cynthia and Harry Baird where she left off in A Southern Exposure (1995). Read full book review >
THE LAST LOVELY CITY by Alice Adams
Released: Feb. 1, 1999

"With melancholy seeping into them, these plans for renewal fail more often than they succeed, in a pattern artful but distressingly familiar by the last page."
A collection of 13 stories offers Adams's (Medicine Men, 1997, etc.) usual blend of intimacy and the good life but also heavily plays the aging card, as story after story returns to the discontents of the middle years and beyond. Read full book review >
MEDICINE MEN by Alice Adams
Released: April 15, 1997

"But this is Adams's stock in trade, and her skill at sustaining an entre-nous point of view remains superb, leaving the reader flattered by the author's confidence, if a little uncertain as to her aims."
It's back to San Francisco and the genteel, graceful life—undermined this time by dark desire and disease—for the prolific Adams (A Southern Exposure, 1995, etc.), whose tenth novel is a virtual catalogue of physicians' moral flaws. Read full book review >
A SOUTHERN EXPOSURE by Alice Adams
Released: Oct. 12, 1995

"Adams is at home here, finally, and it shows."
In this sprawling but amiable ninth novel, Adams (Almost Perfect, 1993, etc.) returns to the time (1930s) and place (North Carolina) of some of her earlier and, arguably, best writing, most memorable in short stories such as "Roses, Rhododendron" and "Verlie I Say Unto You." Read full book review >
ALMOST PERFECT by Alice Adams
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 28, 1993

"Ambitious but finally tepid."
The novels Adams writes, such as Superior Women (1984) and Caroline's Daughters (1991), are upholstered with mores: what people drink, eat, look at from windows, say at parties in well-educated Bay Area circles. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 1992

"The results are mixed."
Well-known novelist and short-story writer Adams (also this year's Best American Short Stories editor—see above) reflects on a lifetime of vacationing in Mexico. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 11, 1991

"As buffets go: eh."
Adams has chosen an oddly weak clutch of exemplars, though there are exceptions. Read full book review >
CAROLINE'S DAUGHTERS by Alice Adams
Released: March 22, 1991

"But it does have lots of food and wine, plenty of architecture, and constant emotional innuendo delivered in the author's patented mannered prose."
The documentary muse of northern California's artistic upper-middle-class (Second Chances, 1988, etc.) toys with but never tackles the dangerous, fashionable issue of incest. Read full book review >
AFTER YOU'VE GONE by Alice Adams
Released: Sept. 15, 1989

"Overall, worthwhile for those willing to sort the jewels from the strass—when she wants to, Adams can really sparkle."
It's too bad that Adams titled this new collection (her fourth) after the weakest of the 14 stories here—a smug monograph narrated by a jilted lawyer and directed at her poet ex-lover—because it may discourage Adams fans from delving further to sift out a few scattered gems. Read full book review >
SECOND CHANCES by Alice Adams
Released: April 12, 1988

"Artsy, cluttered with digressions and mannered speech, but still hinting at the tragic ironies involved in reflecting on and trying to look forward to lives already spent."
In characteristic hushed, mannered, pallid style, Adams (Superior Women, 1984, etc.) now takes on the hopes, fears, losses, and (illusory) gains of six affluent old ("very, very old") friends entering the "false spring" of early advanced age in a comfortable, featureless, falsely vernal California enclave called San Sebastian. Read full book review >
RETURN TRIPS by Alice Adams
Released: Sept. 6, 1985

"If these 14 well-crafted stories have more scope than depth, more style than passion, Adams aficionados will not be disappointed in the quality of the writing or the acuity of detail."
In Return Trips, her third collection of short stories, Adams works with people on the move, some returning to familiar places, others taking the ultimate trip from which they will not return. Read full book review >
SUPERIOR WOMEN by Alice Adams
Released: Sept. 10, 1984

"Still, if this has little of the wit and shrewd social-history that lifted Mary McCarthy's The Group above gossip-sex-and-soap, it's probably Adams' most commercial fiction yet—with enough chic misery and quasi-feminist gloss to attract an audience with uncertain taste and certain pretensions."
Through the decades with five members of the Radcliffe Class of '46—in a wan, pulse-less novel that has the limitations of the tinny Rona Jaffe genre but little of the compensating brio or drama. Read full book review >
TO SEE YOU AGAIN by Alice Adams
Released: March 29, 1982

"So, except for those three atypical standouts, this is work in Adams' most familiar vein: static, somewhat smug, and neatly tailored enough to please her regular readership."
Two of the stories in this new Adams collection are quite fine: "By the Sea," which chronicles a teenage waitress' ascent into confidence, with action always succeeding reaction; and "Teresa," in which a poor Mexican woman becomes so woe-filled by the tragedies in her life that eventually she feels perfectly and utterly safe, there being no bad thing that hasn't already happened to her. Read full book review >
RICH REWARDS by Alice Adams
Released: Sept. 10, 1980

"Painless—but the thinnest work yet from an initially alluring, superficially polished, increasingly banal and repetitive writer."
Here, more than ever, Adams (Listening to Billie, Beautiful Girl) seems to be dressing up women's-magazine fiction as serious literary work—with some style but little real authority. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 4, 1978

"Most everywhere else, though, Adams' eye is too intent upon her surfaces and her voice—a graceful but unengaging debut collection."
Adams' stories—familiar to perusers of The New Yorker or recent O. Henry Award collections—are very shapely, but they're usually cinched so tight that there's hardly any way in for the reader's sloppiest but most crucial response: an emotional one. Read full book review >
LISTENING TO BILLIE by Alice Adams
Released: Jan. 5, 1977

"Of the very highest class imaginable, to be sure, but soap opera nevertheless. (The title refers to Billie Holliday, one—among many—of Eliza's preoccupations that doesn't quite ring true.)"
Alice Adams—of The New Yorker, of Families and Survivors (1975)—is a lovely writer, supremely economical and blessed with a Mozartean sense of voice and rhythm. Read full book review >
FAMILIES AND SURVIVORS by Alice Adams
Released: Jan. 21, 1974

"A novel of considerable grace and attraction which vulnerably and often implacably reflects shiny surfaces, glass people."
From the '40's to the '70's, this is a mobile of contemporary American life at the whim of any draft under the sill. Read full book review >
CARELESS LOVE by Alice Adams
Released: May 2, 1966

"And the artless agonizing will be the despair of the reader."
She hadn't imagined love as arriving with a shaved chest...This was Daisy Duke Fabbri's first intimation that life as a divorcee was going to be odd." Read full book review >